Meaningful Activity and Boredom in the Transition from Homelessness: Two Narratives Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Background. Few studies have examined boredom and meaningful activity during the transition from homeless to housed, and those that exist are retrospective. Purpose. To prospectively examine how meaningful activities and boredom are experienced during the process of leaving homelessness. Method. Using a mixed-methods case study design, we interviewed 13 homeless participants at baseline using a 92-item quantitative interview, followed by a semi-structured qualitative interview. Two participants were located six months later and were interviewed again using the same protocol. Quantitative data are presented descriptively. Qualitative data were analyzed using narrative analysis. Findings. Qualitative data revealed two unique narratives of boredom and meaningful activity engagement in the transition from homeless to housed, with opportunities for engagement in meaningful activity limited largely by the social and housing environments in which both participants were situated. Quantitative data indicates that boredom and meaningful activity changed little before and after homelessness. At both baseline and follow-up, boredom scores for both participants were comparable to a sample of participants who were exposed to a “boredom” condition in an experimental study ( Hunter, Dyer, Cribbie, & Eastwood, 2016 ). Implications. Formerly homeless persons may struggle to engage in meaningful activity, and boredom may negatively affect mental well-being. Research with larger samples is needed.


  • Marshall, Carrie Anne
  • Keogh-Lim, Daniel
  • Koop, Michelle
  • Barbic, Skye
  • Gewurtz, Rebecca

publication date

  • October 2020